Oven Baked Ribs with Tequila BBQ Sauce

Serves 6

Guy Fieri inspired oven baked ribs. Guy uses pork ribs, I tried with both beef and short ribs. I like the long beef spare ribs best for this recipe. The Tequila BBQ sauce is extra fun for Purim and is bursting with sweet, savory, spicy and tangy flavors. Use some sauce to brush on the ribs while cooking and the rest to pass for dipping. The meat is fall off the bone soft and next time I definitely need to double the recipe!

Two (4-pound) racks beef ribs
2 tablespoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons granulated garlic
2 tablespoons onion powder
2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ancho chile powder or chili powder
Tequila BBQ sauce, for serving, recipe follows

Tequila BBQ Sauce:
One 6-ounce can tomato paste
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup white or gold tequila (I prefer white)
1/4 cup lime juice
1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
1 tablespoon molasses
2 teaspoons chipolte in adobe sauce OR 1 generous teaspoon Sriracha sauce
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F.
Make the rub by combining the cumin, garlic, onion powder, paprika, salt, pepper and ancho chile powder together in a mixing bowl.
Set a few large sheets of foil out (one set for each rack). Place 1 rack on each sheet and divide the dry rub in half. Rub the mixture into the ribs on both sides, and then fold the foil over to form a sealed pouch around each rack. At this stage make sure the racks are meat-side down. Place each pouch on a roasting tray and bake in the oven for 2 hours.

Make the Tequila BBQ Sauce: In a medium saucepan, add the tomato paste, light brown sugar, tequila, lime juice, garlic and molasses. Stir well and bring to a gentle simmer. Add in the chipolte in adobe or sriracha sauce, season with salt and pepper and simmer until the flavors meld together, 2 to 3 minutes. Process with a blender until smooth.

After 2 hours, open up the foil and peel back so the ribs are exposed. Carefully turn the meat over so the meat side is on top, brush with a little bbq sauce and then cook for 1 1/2 more hours with the open foil. When done, the ribs will be tender and the meat will have shrunk back from the bones. Finish under the broiler to add more color, 1 to 2 minutes.
Serve the ribs with remaining Tequila BBQ Sauce.

Real Butter”SCOTCH” Blondies

Makes 12 bars

These are authentic butterscotch blondies, soft, chewy blondies. Use a blended, medium to lower quality scotch for these and save the single malt to sip while you enjoy this sweet treat.

6 oz. (3/4 cup) unsalted margarine/butter; more softened for the pan
11-1/4 oz. (2-1/2 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. table salt
2 cups packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup Scotch whiskey
2 large eggs, beaten
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 cups mini chocolate chips

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat to 350°F. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9×13-inch baking pan, line the bottom with parchment, and then grease the parchment.
In a large bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In a 2-quart saucepan, melt the margarine/butter over medium-low heat. Let cool briefly. Add the brown sugar and stir until combined. Add the Scotch, eggs, and vanilla and stir until combined.
Add the sugar mixture to the flour mixture, stirring until just combined. Gently fold in the chocolate chips.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, smooth the top, and tap the pan on the counter once or twice to break any air bubbles. Bake until the top is golden brown and just starting to pull away from the edges of the pan, about 25 minutes. Let cool completely in the pan on a wire rack.
Run a knife around the edge of the pan to loosen the blondies, invert onto a cutting board, remove the pan and parchment, and flip right side up. Cut into 16 pieces and serve.
Make Ahead Tips
You can store the blondies, covered, at room temperature for up to 5 days.

Peanut Butter Crunch Candy – Friends Favorite!

Makes 3 dozen

Think the center of butterfinger candy. Yes, all that delicious peanut butter flavor, slightly crispy, flakey texture and a melt-in-your-mouth experience! I’m giving these out on Purim. Come on over!

1 cup sugar
3/4 cup light corn syrup
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon unsalted margarine or butter
1 1/2 cups peanut butter, I used a natural brand
1 cup coarsely chopped roasted peanuts
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Line a 9-inch-square pan with foil. In a medium saucepan, stir the sugar with the corn syrup and water. Add the margarine/butter and bring
to a boil over high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Attach a candy thermometer to the
pan and cook over moderately high heat until the caramel reaches 285°, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large heatproof, microwave-safe bowl, combine the peanut butter with the peanuts and salt. Heat the peanut butter mixture in the microwave at high power for about 1 1/2 minutes, until melted and hot. Stir well.

In a small bowl, whisk the vanilla with the baking soda. As soon as the caramel reaches 285°, carefully stir in the baking soda mixture; the caramel will foam and bubble up.

Immediately pour the caramel into the
melted peanut butter mixture and, using a heatproof spatula, fold together as quickly as
possible. You want the mixtures to be combined but not homogenized; the candy will come together very fast.

Immediately scrape the hot candy into the prepared pan and press into a flat, even layer. Let cool completely. Peel off the foil and cut the candy into squares.

Cut or uncut, the candy can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.

Any Type of Fruit Upside Down Cake

Serves 12

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
5 tablespoons margarine butter, melted
2 peaches, pitted, peeled and sliced 1/2-inch thick, fresh or frozen (or other fruit, like pineapple, apples, pears, plums
1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) margarine or butter, at room temperature
4 ounces Tofutti Cream Cheese or dairy cream cheese, at room temperature
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
2/3 cup soymilk or milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and place a rack in the center of the oven. Grease the sides of a 9-by-3-inch round cake or bundt pan or upside-down cake pan – pan with removable bottom.
Sprinkle the brown sugar in the pan and pour in the melted margarine or butter. Top with the peaches and blueberries and set aside.

In a mixer, beat the sugar with the room temperature margarine/butter on medium speed until fluffy, then increase to high speed for 3 to 5 minutes. Turn off the mixer, add the Tofutti cream cheese ,and then mix on medium speed.
In a medium bowl, whisk to combine the flour, baking powder and salt.

Turn the mixer off and add the eggs, then mix on low speed to beat in the eggs. Add the flour mixture slowly, then add the soymilk and vanilla extract and mix until combined. Spread the batter over the fruit and transfer to the oven.

Bake 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool for 5 minutes, then run a knife around the sides to loosen the cake and invert onto a plate. Let cool and serve.

Rainbow Roasted Vegetables with Balsamic Glaze

Serves 8

2 red bell peppers, stemmed and seeded, cut into 1 1/2-inch-thick rounds
2 medium carrots, cut into 1 1/2 -inch pieces
2 medium parsnips. cut into 1 1/12-inch pieces
2 cups broccoli florets, cut into 2-inch florets (fresh or frozen, very dried)
2 cups cauliflower, cut into 2-inch florets (fresh or frozen, very dried)
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon dried thyme, or fresh
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Balsamic Glaze

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F and place a rack in the center of the oven.
Arrange the peppers, carrots, parsnips, broccoli and cauliflower in rows to create a rainbow of colors on a large baking sheet. Scatter onion powder, garlic powder, and thyme over the vegetables and drizzle with the oil. Season generously with salt and pepper. Roast until the vegetables are tender and cooked through, about 30 minutes.
Drizzle the Balsamic Glaze over the vegetables and serve.

Balsamic Glaze:
In a small saucepan, combine the vinegar and sugar and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until syrupy and reduced to 1/4 cup, 8 to 10 minutes. Yield: 1/4 cup

Great Go – To Ice Box Cinnamon Pecan Cookies

Makes 3 dozen cookies

3 sticks unsalted margarine or butter
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg white
3 cups flour
¼ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1 cup chopped toasted pecans
Egg Wash
1 egg
1 teaspoon water
½ cup pecan halves

In a mixer, cream margarine and sugar on medium speed until fluffy, about 4 minutes. Gradually add vanilla and egg white, scraping down bowl to fully incorporate.

In a medium bowl, sift flour, salt, cinnamon, and baking soda together. Add to creamed margarine mixture and mix on low speed until just combined. Add chopped pecans and mix.

Divide dough into 2 equal pieces. Roll each into a log about 1 ½ inches in diameter. Wrap the logs in parchment paper and plastic wrap. Refrigerate or freeze until firm.

Preheat oven to 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. With a sharp knife, cut the logs into ¼-inch thick slices. Transfer the cookies to baking sheets about 1 ½ inches apart. Brush lightly with egg wash and top with a pecan, gently pressing to adhere.

Bake until edges are lightly browned, 12-14 minutes. Cool.

Rich Brownie Drop Cookie

Makes 2 ½ dozen

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted margarine or butter, softened
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 ounce unsweetened baking chocolate, melted
3 large eggs, at room temperature
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a stand mixer, beat the margarine/butter, sugar, brown sugar and chocolate until smooth. Add the eggs and mix until fully combined. Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt in a bowl and add slowly to the batter until mixed. Add the vanilla and fold in the chocolate chips.
Drop by generous spoonfuls onto the prepared baking sheet, about 2 inches apart. Bake for 15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Cheater Cake Dessert

Photo: Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman/Working Calves at Timâs, Food Network,

Super fast and easy, cake mix dessert when you are too busy to fuss over dessert too.

Serves 10-14

Fruit Options:
6 apples, peeled and sliced
6 pears, peeled and sliced
3 cups blueberries
Frozen cubed fruit
One 21-ounce can cherry pie filling
One 15-ounce can crushed pineapple
1 box white cake mix (18 ounces)
1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) margarine
Whipped cream, dairy or non-dairy for serving

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Mix any variety of fresh or canned fruit into a 9 x 13 baking dish. I like the combination of apples and pears, or the combination of apples and cherry pie filling, or fresh pears with canned crushed pineapple (semi-drained). But use whatever you like, fresh, frozen or canned (canned pie fillings have a lot of sugar so mix them with some fresh fruit)
Sprinkle the cake mix over the top of the fruit. Slice the margarine into tablespoons and distribute evenly over the surface of the cake mix.

Bake until the tops are brown and bubbly, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Serve with whipped cream

Dairy or Meat Potato Casserole with Sauteed Onions

Ree Drummond
Pioneer Woman/Working Calves at Tim’s
Food Network

Either dairy or meat, this is a crowd pleaser! It’s old fashioned comfort food that is a great alternative to latkes.

Serves 12

3 tablespoons canola oil
2 onions, chopped
½ pound pastrami cubes or sliced imitation bacon (use either meat or dairy variety – dairy type is soy based)
8 russet potatoes
3 tablespoons canola oil
2 sticks (1 pound) margarine
1 cup Tofutti (non-dairy) sour cream or dairy sour cream
1 cup grated Cheddar or Jack (or a mix of both), plus more for topping (omit for meat option)
1 cup soy milk or milk
2 teaspoons seasoned salt
3 green onions, sliced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Bread crumbs, optional

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions and cook until caramelized and browned, about 16 minutes. Remove onions. Add a bit more oil if needed, and heat to medium-high. Add pastrami, imitation bacon (meat or dairy) and cook until lightly browned about 4 minutes. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Scrub the potatoes, then place them on baking sheets. Rub the potatoes with the canola oil and bake until tender, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Remove the potatoes and lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees F.
Slice the margarine into pats and transfer to a large mixing bowl. Add the pastrami, onions and sour cream (dairy or non-dairy variety). With a sharp knife, cut each potato in half lengthwise and scrape out the insides into the mixing bowl. Tear up 3 of the skins and throw them in. Smash the potatoes with a potato masher. Add the cheese (if making dairy version), milk (dairy or non-dairy variety), seasoned salt, green onions and some salt and pepper and mix together well.
Grease an oven-safe baking dish, and then spoon the mixture into the dish, top with more grated cheese (for dairy version) or with bread crumbs and bake until warmed through, 25 to 30 minutes.

Shredded Brussel Sprouts with Sauteed Pastrami Bites

A great seasonal side dish alternative.

Serves 8

6 ounces pastrami, cut into ½-inch dice
4 tablespoons capers, drained
2 (12 – 16) ounce bags brussel sprouts, 2 pints Brussels sprouts, halved (frozen are fine, defrost before using)
1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted
1/4 cup currants
1/4 cup raisins

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
In a medium pan over medium heat, cook the pastrami and capers, until pastrami is slightly caramelized, about 5 minutes. Remove from the pan, reserving a little of the fat in the pan. Add the Brussels sprouts to the pan and cook over medium heat to begin to brown. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and olive oil, a little salt (pastrami is salty and capers too so just a pinch) and pepper. Place into the oven and roast, tossing a couple of times, until nicely caramelized, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from oven.. Add the pastrami, the capers, pine nuts, currants and raisins. Toss and check for seasoning. Serve.

Salt and Herb Crusted Standing Rib Roast

A celebratory decadent roast for Hanukah.

Serves 8 – 12

1 bone-in or boneless rib roast (5 bone or up to 9 pounds)
Olive oil
1/4 cup tri-color peppercorns
5 sprigs fresh thyme
3 sprigs fresh rosemary
1/2 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup minced garlic

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.

Heat some oil in a large skillet over high heat. Sear roast until a nice dark golden color, 2 to 3 minutes per side.
Place the peppercorns into a bag and crush with a rolling pin. Shred the leaves from the thyme and rosemary sprigs. Mix the salt with the crushed peppercorns, rosemary leaves, thyme leaves and garlic. Pour olive oil over the rib eye and pour on the rub mix. Massage oil and herbs all over meat. Pat slightly to get it to stick to the meat. Roast for 20 minutes, then reduce the heat to 275 degrees F and roast until a meat thermometer registers 130 for rare/medium-rare, about 20 more minutes (the roast will continue to cook slightly after removing from the oven). Remove from the oven and let rest for 15 to 20 minutes before slicing. Slice and serve immediately.

Mushroom Cauliflower Soup


Recipe(s) from THE SILVER PLATTER SIMPLE ELEGANCE: Effortless Recipes with Sophisticated Results
By Daniella Silver and Norene Gilletz

Artscroll/November 2016
pareve • passover • gluten-free • freezes well • yields 8 servings

Rich and rustic but light on calories, this dish has become a household favorite. The cauliflower adds that thick, creamy consistency so you can skip the cream you’d usually add to a mushroom soup.

1-2 Tbsp grapeseed oil
1 large onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
(about 2 tsp)
6 cups button mushrooms, sliced
1 large head cauliflower, cored, cut into small florets
6 cups water or
vegetable broth
2 tsp kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp minced fresh thyme leaves, plus additional whole thyme leaves, for garnish

Heat oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; sauté for 6-8 minutes, or until softened.
Add mushrooms; sauté for 5 minutes longer, until softened.
Stir in cauliflower, water, salt, pepper, and thyme; bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Simmer, partially covered, for 30-40 minutes, or until cauliflower has softened, stirring occasionally. Cool slightly.
Using an immersion blender, process soup until smooth. If soup is too thick, add a little water. Adjust seasonings to taste. Garnish with additional thyme leaves.
Norene’s Notes
Buying Tips: Look for thick, compact heads of cauliflower with creamy white florets.
Storage Tips: Store unwashed cauliflower in the refrigerator in an open or perforated bag, stem-side down, for up to a week. Pre-cut florets will stay fresh for 2-3 days.
Preparation: Don’t wash cauliflower until it’s ready to be used. Soak in salt water or vinegar and water to help force out any insects lodged between the florets. Remove outer leaves; then cut away the stalk with a sharp knife. Cut each cluster from the core, leaving a little bit of the stem with each cluster. Cut into florets.

Hoisin Steak Bites


Recipe(s) from THE SILVER PLATTER SIMPLE ELEGANCE: Effortless Recipes with Sophisticated Results
By Daniella Silver and Norene Gilletz

Artscroll/November 2016
meat • freezes well • yields 6-8 servings

These little bites of steak are simple, sophisticated hors d’oeuvres. The hoisin-based marinade tenderizes the meat, infusing each tidbit with both sweet and savory flavors. Serve these on toothpicks or on a bed of rice or quinoa as a main dish, too.

1 London broil or 3 boneless rib eye steaks (about 2 lb/1.8 kg total)
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
4 cloves garlic, minced
(about 2 tsp)
½ cup hoisin sauce
¼ cup ketchup
3 Tbsp pure maple syrup
2 Tbsp seasoned rice vinegar
grapeseed oil, for frying

Cut meat into ¾-inch chunks; place into a resealable plastic bag.
Sprinkle meat with salt, pepper, and garlic. Add hoisin sauce, ketchup, maple syrup, and vinegar. Seal tightly. Marinate for 1 hour, or up to 24 hours in the refrigerator. Turn bag over occasionally so meat is covered with marinade.
Remove bag from refrigerator. Remove steak from marinade; reserve marinade.
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Working in batches, fry meat until browned on all sides, turning meat as needed.
Meanwhile, pour marinade into a small saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer for 5 minutes to create sauce.
Serve meat on small skewers or toothpicks. Drizzle sauce over meat or pour sauce into a small serving bowl for dunking.
Norene’s Notes
Variation: Instead of beef, substitute boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into chunks.
For a pretty presentation, spear a cherry or grape tomato on one end of each skewer.
Leftover steak bites are a great addition to green or grain-based salads.

Cranberry Chocolate Chip Cake


Recipe(s) from THE SILVER PLATTER SIMPLE ELEGANCE: Effortless Recipes with Sophisticated Results
By Daniella Silver and Norene Gilletz

Artscroll/November 2016

pareve • gluten-free option • freezes well • yields 2 loaves

You can’t beat the combination of fruit and chocolate in this fragrant cranberry loaf. Perfectly tart and sweet, it’s a great cake for breakfast, brunch, or an after-dinner treat. It makes two loaves, so freeze the second one for another occasion.

3 eggs
1 ¼ cups sugar
1 ¼ cups vegetable oil
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 ½ cups orange juice
2 ½ cups flour (or gluten-free flour with xanthan gum)
1 tsp baking powder
1 ½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
3 cups fresh or frozen cranberries (no need to thaw)
1 ½ cups mini chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat two 9 x 5-inch loaf pans with nonstick cooking spray.
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat eggs with sugar, oil, and vanilla on medium-high speed for 3-5 minutes, until light.
3. Reduce mixer speed to low; gradually blend in orange juice.
4. Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix just until combined. Fold in cranberries and chocolate chips.
5. Divide batter evenly between prepared loaf pans; spread evenly. Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until a wooden toothpick inserted into the center comes out dry.
6. Allow loaves to cool for 20 minutes. Invert onto serving platters.

Norene’s Notes
• Muffin Variation: In Step 5, scoop batter into muffin pans coated with nonstick spray or lined with paper liners until ¾-full. Bake at 375°F for about 25 minutes. Yields 18-24 muffins.
• Frozen cranberries don’t need to be thawed. Just rinse and pat them dry with paper towels before folding them into the batter

Pan Roasted Chicken with Tropical Sweet and Spicy Glaze


Serves 4, can be doubled

1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 3½–4-pound chicken, halved
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
½ fresh pineapple, sliced ½ inch thick
1 jalapeno chile, sliced, seeds and membrane removed for less heat
2 garlic cloves, crushed
¾ cup pineapple juice
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 tablespoon paprika

Place a rack in upper third of oven; preheat to 425°. Mix coriander, cumin, and cayenne in a small bowl. Sprinkle chicken with spice mixture, pressing to adhere; season with salt and pepper.
Heat oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high. Cook chicken, skin side down, until browned and beginning to crisp, about 5 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate and arrange pineapple slices in pan. Place chicken, skin side up, on top. Transfer to oven and roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of thigh registers 165°, 40–45 minutes.
Meanwhile, bring jalapeno chile, garlic, pineapple juice, vinegar, brown sugar, and paprika to a boil in a small saucepan and cook until thickened and syrupy, 12–15 minutes; season glaze with salt.
When chicken is done, brush with glaze and roast just until glaze is bubbling, about 2 minutes; repeat with any remaining glaze. Transfer chicken and pineapple to a cutting board; let rest 10 minutes. Serve chicken and pineapple with any juices from skillet alongside.

Skillet Pan Chicken with Paprika


Serves 4, can be doubled

4 tablespoons unsalted margarine or canola oil
2 large onions, thinly sliced
Kosher salt
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons Hungarian sweet paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
Pinch of sugar
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken thighs, trimmed and cut into 3/4-inch pieces
1/4 cup soymilk or non-dairy creamer

In a large saucepan, melt 3 tablespoons of the margarine. Add the onions, season with salt and pepper and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until golden and tender, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic, paprika and cayenne and cook, stirring, until dark red in color, 2 minutes. Add the flour and the remaining 1 tablespoon of margarine and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Stir in the broth and sugar and cook until the sauce is thickened, about 2 minutes. Add the chicken to the sauce and bring to a simmer. Cook over moderately low heat until the chicken is tender, about 15 minutes. Stir in the soymilk and season with salt and pepper.

I serve it with white or brown rice or atop baked sweet potatoes

Salted Caramel Whipped Mousse


Serves 6
1/4 cup very cold pareve whipping cream, plus 1 cup
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted margarine, cut into pieces
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3 ounces soft Tofutti cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Heat 1/4 cup pareve cream in a small saucepan; keep warm. Combine the sugar and 1/4 cup water in a small saucepan and cook over high heat without stirring until it becomes a deep amber color, about 7 minutes. Remove from the heat, whisk in the warm cream, the margarine and kosher salt and let cool to room temperature. 

Put the Tofutti cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat with the whip attachment until smooth. Add 1 cup very cold whipping cream and the vanilla extract and whip until the mixture begins to thicken slightly. Add the caramel mixture and continue whipping until soft peaks form. Refrigerate until ready to use. Makes about 2 cups.

Serve with solo or with granola or crunchy nut mixture on top or with Sweet Potato Pound Cake.

Sweet Potato Pound Cake

Photo by Barefoot Contessa, recipe adapted from original. GKC recipe is non-dairy and dressing and other ingredients are adjusted.

Serves 10

This cake is best served one day after it is prepared. Wrap it in plastic wrap and store it on the counter until ready to serve. I love it with the whipped caramel cream but its also delicious alongside turkey as a sweet side dish.

Cooking spray
14-5/8 oz. (3-1/4 cups) all-purpose flour; more for the pan
2 tsp. baking powder
1-3/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. table salt
1/2 cup soymilk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
8 oz. (1 cup) unsalted margarine, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
2 cups cooked, well-mashed sweet potatoes (from 2 large)
2 Tbs. confectioners’ sugar
Boil, bake, or microwave whole, unpeeled sweet potatoes before mashing for this recipe. You can also substitute canned sweet potatoes; just pour off the syrup and rinse the potatoes before mashing; though the color may be lighter, the flavor is close to home-cooked. One 29-oz. can of sweet potato chunks yields about 2-1/4 cups mashed.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 10- to 12-cup Bundt or tube pan with cooking spray, then dust with flour.

In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, 1-1/2 tsp. of the ginger, the nutmeg, baking soda, and salt. In a small bowl or measuring cup, combine soymilk and vanilla.
In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the margarine and sugars on medium-low speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the bowl as needed. Add the sweet potatoes, and mix until the batter is combined. (it may look curdled at this point.) Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl.
With the mixer on low speed, add half of the flour mixture, and mix until just incorporated. Add half of the soymilk mixture, and beat on low until well blended, scraping down the bowl as needed. Repeat with the remaining flour and soymilk, beating on low until the batter is thick and smooth.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, and spread it evenly. Bake until the cake springs back when pressed lightly and a wooden skewer inserted in the center comes out clean, 55 to 65 minutes. cool the cake in the pan on a wire rack for 20 minutes. Run a thin knife around the edge to loosen the cake if the pan shape allows, and then carefully invert it onto a rack to cool completely.
Combine the confectioners’ sugar and the remaining 1/4 tsp. ginger. Use a medium fine-mesh sieve to dust the top of the cake with the sugar mixture.

Maple Roasted Carrot Salad

Serves 6

2 lbs carrots,
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
kosher salt
ground black pepper
¼ cup pure grade maple syrup
2/3 cup dried craisins
2/3 cup orange juice
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup arugula
1 cup sliced endive
2 cups romaine, chopped
½ cup toasted almonds

Preheat oven to 425F. Cut peeled carrots in a diagonal slice, 1-inch wide by 2-inches long. Place in a bowl with ¼ cup olive oil, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, ½ teaspoon pepper. Toss and transfer to a baking sheet, making sure carrots are in a single layer. IMPORTANT, if not in a single layer, use two baking sheets.

Roast for 20 minutes, until carrots are tender.

Combine carrots onto one sheet pan, add maple syrup, toss and roast for 10 – 15 minutes, until caramelized. Toss and set aside for 10 minutes.

In a small saucepan, combine cranberries and orange juice and bring to a simmer. Set aside for 10 minutes.

In s small bowl, whisk together vinegar, garlic, ½ teaspoon salt and 3 tablespoons olive oil.

In a bowl, combine arugula, endive, romaine and almonds. Add cooled carrots, craisins with their liquid, and the vinaigrette. Toss and serve.

Pumpkin Ice Cream and Graham Cracker Torte

Makes 1 9-inch pie, serves 10

8 ounces crisp graham cracker cookies or gingersnap cookies
2 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin, chilled
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
About 1 1/4 cups caramel sauce, homemade or store-bought
1 quart vanilla ice cream, softened (see notes), I use pareve
About 1 cup hot fudge sauce, homemade or store-bought
1 cup candied nuts or toffee

Preheat oven to 325F.
In a food processer, pulse cookies until crumbs form. Add sugar and melted margarine. Pour into 9-inch cheesecake pan with removeable sides. Press cookie mixture over bottom and about 1 inch up sides of pan.

Bake crust until lightly browned, 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool about 5 minutes, then chill or freeze until cold, 5 to 10 minutes.

In a chilled large bowl, mix pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice, and 1/4 cup of the caramel topping until smooth. Add ice cream and mix until blended.

Working quickly, spoon about a third of the ice cream mixture into the cold crust. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons caramel topping and 2 tablespoons fudge sauce (if fudge sauce is too stiff, warm slightly in a microwave oven at full power (100%), stirring once, just until fluid, 15 to 30 seconds); sprinkle half the Candied Walnuts on top. Repeat with two more layers, omitting nuts on the top layer. Freeze until solid, about 5 hours, then cover and freeze up to 1 week.

About 15 minutes before serving, remove sides from pan, set torte on a serving plate, and let stand in refrigerator to soften slightly. Cut into wedges. Serve with additional caramel topping and fudge sauce (warm and stir again if too stiff) to add to taste.

Fall Greens with Apples, Pears and Toasted Nuts


Serves 10 – 12

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon finely shredded fresh ginger
2 teaspoons honey
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup canola oil
10 ounce kale, torn into bite-size pieces (about 2 qts.)
1 head butter lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces
1 head hearts of romaine, torn into bite-size pieces
1 large Fuji apple, cut into thin wedges
1 large pear, cut into thin wedges
½ cup dried craisins or dried cherries
½ cup toasted nuts
Make dressing: Combine apple cider vinegar, ginger, honey, mustard, salt, and pepper in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Shake until honey dissolves and ingredients are well combined. Add oil and shake vigorously to mix well.

In a bowl, toss kale with 3 tbsp. vinaigrette until leaves are coated evenly. Cover and leave at room temperature, at least 30 minutes and up to 4 hours.

Just before serving, add butter lettuce, romaine, apple and pear slices, craisins, and nuts and toss gently.

Make ahead: Dressing, up to 2 weeks ahead, chilled; other ingredients can be prepped several hours ahead and chilled separately (toss apples and pears with a little lemon juice to prevent browning).

Cranberry Sauce with Dried Apricots

Makes 2 ½ cups

1 pound fresh or frozen cranberries
4 ounces dried apricots, coarsely chopped
About 3/4 cups sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1 bay leaf
About 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
Zest and juice of 1 large orange

Put all ingredients with 1/2 cup water in a medium saucepan. Simmer over low heat, stirring often, until most of the cranberries have popped, 10 to 15 minutes. Add sugar and salt to taste.
Make ahead: Up to 1 week, chilled.

Cranberry Apple Sauce

Makes 2 ½ cups

1 pound fresh or frozen cranberries
3 ounces dried apples, chopped
3/4 cup sugar
¼ teaspooon allspice
1 whole cinnamon stick
About 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon ground cardamon
Zest and juice of 1 medium lemon
1 tablespoon orange zest

Put all ingredients with 3/4 cup water in a medium saucepan. Simmer over low heat, stirring often, until most of the cranberries have popped and apples are tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove cinnamon stick and add sugar and salt to taste.
Make ahead: Up to 1 week, chilled.

Lentil Salad with Dried Cherries, Kale and Toasted Nuts


Serves 6 – 8

1/4 cup plus 2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 large shallot, minced (about 1/3 cup)
Kosher salt
1 cup dried French lentils or red lentils
1 12-oz. bottle amber or brown ale
1/3 cup coarsely chopped dried sweet cherries
1 Tbs. cider vinegar
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup hazelnutsor pecans, toasted, and chopped
1 ½ cups fresh curly kale, chopped into 2-inch pieces

Heat 2 tsp. of the olive oil in a 2-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add the shallot and 1/4 tsp. salt, and cook until softened, about 2 minutes. Stir in the lentils, 1cup of the beer, and 1 cup water. Boil over high heat, stirring once or twice, until the beer foam has settled, then reduce the heat to low. Simmer uncovered until the lentils are tender, 40 to 55 minutes, adding more water as needed to keep them covered. Drain, reserving the liquid, and transfer the lentils to a serving bowl.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the remaining 1/2 cup beer with the cherries, and let sit until softened, about 15 minutes. Drain, and discard the beer.
In a large bowl, whisk the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil with the vinegar, mustard, and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Gently stir in the warm lentils. Let sit 10 minutes. Stir in the cherries, parsley, nuts and kale. If the salad seems dry, toss with some of the reserved cooking liquid. Season to taste with more salt or vinegar before serving.

Pulled Chicken Sliders with Pale Ale BBQ Sauce and Pickled Onions


Serves 10

For the pickled onion
1 12-oz. bottle American pale ale
3/4 cup white-wine vinegar
1 tsp. granulated sugar
Kosher salt
1 medium red onion, thinly sliced

For the chicken
3 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs or pieces
4 medium cloves garlic, smashed
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons tomato paste
Kosher salt
1 12-oz. bottle American pale ale
2 teaspoons Sriracha sauce or to taste
3/4 cup mayonnaise

For assembly
24 slider buns, preferably pretzel or whole grain

Pickle the onion
Combine the beer, vinegar, sugar, and 1/2 tsp. salt in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove the pan from the heat and add the onion. Let cool to room temperature, stirring once or twice.

Cook the chicken
Preheat the oven to 325°F.
Put the chicken and garlic in a 5-quart Dutch oven or other heavy-duty pot with a lid. In a medium bowl, whisk together the honey, tomato paste, and 1 tsp. salt, then whisk in the beer.  Pour over the chicken.
Place the pot over high heat and bring to a rapid simmer. Cover and transfer to the oven. Braise until the chicken pulls apart easily with a fork, 50 to 60 minutes.
With a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken to a large bowl. Transfer the garlic cloves to a small bowl and set aside. Using two forks, pull the meat into shreds and set aside.
Over medium-high heat, boil the braising liquid until reduced by half, about 15 minutes. Return the chicken to the pot and add 1 teaspoon of the hot sauce and 2 tsp. of the onion pickling liquid. Mix well and season to taste with more hot sauce, pickling liquid, or salt.
Mash the reserved garlic cloves with a fork. Whisk with the mayonnaise and remaining Sriracha.
Make Ahead Tips
The chicken and the garlic mayonnaise can be prepared up to 3 days ahead; refrigerate both and reheat the chicken before serving.
The pickled onions can be refrigerated for up to 3 weeks in a covered container.